Quick, think of an iconic Norwegian building. Did you think of one? Was it the Oslo Opera House? Regardless, chances are it was designed by Snøhetta. The award-winning architecture firm is behind anything from the Oslo Opera House and the reconstruction of Times Square, to Europe’s first underwater restaurant and the world’s most environmentally friendly hotel (both in Norway). One of their latest works? A lower secondary school, which welcomed its first students this spring.
Drøbak is a small town, but with a big impact. Apart from being Santa Claus’ real birthplace, this picturesque coastal town on the Oslo fjord is also currently home to a Powerhouse building – the first one of an educational capacity. But what is a “Powerhouse building”? Basically a couple of environmentally-conscious companies – Snøhetta among them – banded together to create energy-producing buildings or “plus houses” that “60 years from now will generate more renewable energy than the amount of energy required to build them, sustain and demolish them”. For these kinds of buildings to be able to work, they must not merely take into consideration the environment, but embed it in the design.
The Powerhouse Drøbak Montessori Secondary School was first commissioned in 2015. Surrounded by forest, it brings to mind something of a rustic fairytale, and the signature Snøhetta design in this case makes it even more whimsical in its minimalism. While designing it, successfully making it a Powerhouse was the main goal – although, of course, factors like the Montessori method of education, the area, and the tight budget were also taken into consideration.
The idea was to position the building close to the edge of the forest, which creates a large play area outside, helping the children connect with nature. The building is rectangular, allowing for ample space on the roof for solar panels (that face the sun at a 33-degree angle in order to achieve maximum effect of the solar cells), but it is also compact, which makes it easier for the energy wells beneath it to tap geothermal energy. The materials used are also contributing to the building’s low energy demand. But perhaps the most important contribution to the environment? A generation of students that will be taught the importance of creating and living in energy-positive buildings – just like the one where they’re currently taking their classes right now.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.